Magazine article Drug Topics

New AMCP President: Managed Care Pharmacy Model Needs Updating

Magazine article Drug Topics

New AMCP President: Managed Care Pharmacy Model Needs Updating

Article excerpt

The pharmacy profession needs to update its approach to everyday issues if it wants to be fully recognized for what it is-a key player in health care, both therapeutically and economically.

While that might not come as a revelation, the approach that new Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy president Carey Cotterell, R.Ph., is advocating might seem downright radical to some. According to Cotterell, the time has come for pharmacy associations to break down the walls between them and work together for the good of the profession and health care in general. Following that course, however, will mean a major cultural shift in the way such organizations have operated at times, he told Drug Topics.

"We ... have been very good at identifying differences and less effective at identifying and working on things that we've got in common," he said. "We really need to focus as a profession, among the [pharmacy] associations, on things we've got in common and work together on those." Hence, the theme of his AMCP presidency is partnerships.

"I understand how associations work and must work," he said, adding that they have not shown much enthusiasm for cooperative efforts over the years. "The first thought was, let's do it by ourselves. That's not in the best interests of the profession. We must work with each other." In view of the fact that he has served in various leadership roles for several national and state associations for 20 years (including a stint on the ASHP board) and was a charter member of AMCP, he may be in a position to make such statements.

Actually, the seeds of such partnerships have already been planted. The boards of AMCP and ASHP have each approved a new standard and accreditation process for firstyear pharmacy practice residency in managed care. The two groups designed the program together and will administer it jointly. While such relationships stand to benefit pharmacy as a whole, Cotterell said they may be particularly helpful in demonstrating the value of wellmanaged pharmacy care.

The collective eyes of managed care plans and their sponsors, however, tend to glaze over when confronted with the rising cost of prescription benefits. The trick will be to demonstrate that the cost of appropriate drug therapy will have "downstream benefits in other portions of the health-care system" in the form of reduced hospital visits and fewer trips to the doctor's office. …

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